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The crew at Fangamer is cooking up one mean soup:
- An EarthBound Handbook filled with 90's 'TUDE
- A Documentary about EarthBound fandom in the west
- An Album of music by the BAD DUDES
- A Zine filled with fan-made art and stories
We've begun work on an EarthBound Handbook, which we've subtitled Travel Eagleland the EarthBound Way!
Much like we did with the MOTHER 3 Handbook, we're producing an obsessively-designed guide which is a companion to the game, rather than a collection of to-do lists and maps. Our goal is to flesh out the world of EarthBound by collecting and shedding light on the tiny details, tricks, and ideas that fans have spent the last 20 years developing.
Remember how the game loved to break the fourth wall? We thought the idea of EarthBound being released in Eagleland was fun, so we ran with it: the conceit of the Handbook is that it is a relic from the EarthBound universe, where it was produced by a company as a sightseeing guide for tourists (similar to "Lord of the Rings" tours of New Zealand). Thus the subtitle: "Travel Eagleland the EarthBound Way!"
The book will feature the design work of Fangamer's designers Audrey Waner and Jon Kay, writing by Dan Moore, and illustration/photography from a huge team of talented EarthBound fans (plus a few 90's era stock photography discs we bought on eBay).
AUDREY SEZ: "The EarthBound Handbook is a spiritual successor to both the MOTHER 3 Handbook and the EarthBound Player’s Guide. We’re taking inspiration from a huge variety of sources - mid-90s advertising, elementary schoolbooks, travel brochures - and meshing them together to create a really rich reading experience. The finished handbook will be a natural companion to the game itself."
We expect the finished book to feature at least 250 pages of content, and it should go without saying that we intend to include scratch-n-sniff cards.
JEFF SEZ: “I think the story of EarthBound fandom (in the West) is unlike anything else. The community came out of the 1990's, when the internet was far less organized than it is today. It's magnificent to see people carrying their childhood passions into adulthood. Making this documentary has been for me like watching EarthBound come to life.”
Since he began filming in February 2013, the ambition and scope of the project has increased dramatically. Over the past 20 months, Jeff has traveled to homes, offices, events, and conventions all over the United States, gathering terabytes of footage and interviews with fans and professionals whose lives -- and sometimes careers -- were shaped by EarthBound and the community that sprung up around it. Current/upcoming interviewees include:
- Aaron Linde (writer at Gearbox)
- Andrew Goldfarb (former IGN editor)
- Anthony Carboni (former Revision 3 host)
- Ashly Burch (voice actor)
- Chris Kohler (editor at Wired)
Clyde Mandelin (founder of EarthBoundCentral.com and co-founder of Stamen.Net)
- Frank Cifaldi (game developer, former editor at Gamasutra and 1Up)
- Fraser Agar (host of Video Games Awesome)
- Lindsay Nelson (Japanese translator)
- Marcus Lindblom (Localization director for EarthBound)
- Nathaniel Guy (former Nintendo employee)
- Reid Young (co-founder of Starmen.Net and Fangamer)
- Tim Schafer (game developer and founder of Double Fine)
- ...plus dozens of other professionals and fans
Earlier this year, Jeff and the Fangamer crew were presented with an unexpected opportunity to fly to Japan and interview the game's creator, Shigesato Itoi. We'll be revealing details from that trip in our backer updates.
The music for the documentary is being written and recorded by Robbie Benson of Super Soul Bros. When complete, the documentary will be made available to backers as a feature-length DVD or 2-disc Blu-Ray.
Mustin and his crew of miscreants, collectively known as the BAD DUDES, have been hard at work on an album of music from the MOTHER series which we're calling the Psychokinetic Album. Check out the sampler!
Here's the current (and subject to change) track listing:
- EarthBound - Enjoy Your Stay
- EarthBound - Home Sweet Home
- MOTHER - Eight Melodies
- EarthBound - Paula's Theme
- EarthBound - Snowman
- MOTHER - Approaching Mt. Itoi
- EarthBound - Hi Hi Hi
- MOTHER 3 - Gentle Rain
- ... and more!
In September of 2006, Mustin assembled the best of the best bedroom producers who had worked on previous Mustin Enterprises (formerly OneUp Studios) releases to form the "A-Team" of video game remixers, dubbed The Bad Dudes. "Not a re-creation of the Bad Dudes video game soundtrack," according to Mustin, "but a reminder that we're all Bad Dudes and we've gotta put it down."
To date, the Dudes have released several free EPs, and in 2009 received critical acclaim for their first official album, CHRONOTORIOUS, a collection of arrangements from the SNES classic Chrono Trigger. They have since released the Hunter Arrangement of Metroid music, making Psychokinetic their third CD release.
To accompany the album, we took submissions for the Psychokinetic Zine, which is an 80-page zine filled with fan-made art and writing. You can check out some of the entries on the Tumblr!
$16 - Digital Tier
You'll receive a high-quality, PDF of the EarthBound Handbook. You'll be given a download code once the Handbook is completed and ready for release, currently projected for March 2016.
$32 - Digital Box Set
In addition to the Handbook PDF, you'll also receive a high-quality PDF of the Psychokinetic Zine, a downloadable version of the Bad Dudes' Psychokinetic Album, and a high-definition digital version of the EarthBound, USA documentary. Again, these will become downloadable upon their completion, currently projected for March 2016.
$32 - Just the Handbook
You'll receive just a physical copy of the EarthBound Handbook. This tier does not come with any digital rewards nor any other physical rewards.
$64 - Physical Tier
In addition to everything from the Digital Box Set, you'll receive a hardcover version of the EarthBound Handbook, a physical copy of the Psychokinetic Zine, a DVD of the EarthBound, USA documentary, and a pack of trading cards based on the enemy information cards in the EarthBound Handbook. The physical items can ship anywhere in the world, and we plan to start shipping them in March 2016. Add $7 to ship outside of the United States.
(The EarthBound Handbook included in this tier is the hardcover version, as of the 150k stretch goal. The sidebar still lists it as the softcover version because, due to Kickstarter rules, we can not edit the sidebar text.)
$128 - Physical Box Set
The pièce de résistance of this project: you will get a hardcover version of the EarthBound Handbook, a copy of the Psychokinetic Zine, a physical CD of the Bad Dudes' Psychokinetic album, a 2-disc blu-ray of the EarthBound, USA documentary (the second disc will be filled with all sort of bonus material), an 8GB Nessbot USB drive containing everything from the Digital Box Set, and three packs of trading cards. All of this will be packaged together in a custom, display-worthy box. Again, these physical items can ship anywhere in the world, and we plan to start shipping them in March 2016 once every aspect of the project is complete. Add $10 to ship outside of the United States.
$256 - You Are Now EarthBound
In addition to the complete Physical Box Set, you'll receive a cute, yellow(ish) backpack that will be filled with all sorts of souvenirs, knick-knacks, curious objects, and who knows what else. The contents of the backpack will be a mystery, and not every backpack will contain the same stuff. However, it will include a complete set of trading cards (about 50 cards total) based on the enemy information cards in the EarthBound Handbook. The backpack will ship out at the same time as the Physical Box Set. (The actual style of the backpack may vary from the style shown in our pictures.) Add $20 to ship outside the United States.
$512 - Spriteful Crow
In addition to everything in the You Are Now EarthBound tier, you will also have your name and a custom, animated sprite bearing your likeness (or a reasonable alternative) in the credits of the EarthBound, USA documentary. Add $20 for shipping the physical rewards outside of the United States. Limited to 8 backers!
$512 - Zealous Bass
In addition to everything in the You Are Now EarthBound tier, you will also be able to suggest a song from the MOTHER series for the Bad Dudes to include in the album, as well as the style you'd like them to use for the arrangement. For instance, you could recommend anything from a salsa version of Queen Mary's theme to a funk version of Coffee Break to a lounge version of the Magypsy theme. Add $20 for shipping the physical rewards outside of the United States. Limited to 3 backers!
$1,024 - Coffee Break
In addition to everything in the Spriteful Crow tier, you can send us a video up to 30 seconds long in which you explain what EarthBound meant to you! This video will be included in the credits of the EarthBound, USA documentary. Add $20 for shipping the physical rewards outside of the United States. Limited to 4 backers!
$2,048 - The Chosen Four
In addition to everything from the Coffee Break tier, you and up to three friends will be VIPs at Camp Fangamer 2015! You will receive four tickets to our convention in Tucson, AZ, July 18-19, 2015. We will also pay for your hotel room for three nights (July 17-19), which you will share with your three friends! Finally, you and your friends get to enjoy a dinner with EarthBound's localization director Marcus Lindblom during one night of the convention! Transportation not included. Limited to 4 backers! (So, a total of 16 tickets.)
$4,096 - EarthBound, USA Premiere at Tucson's Chaos Theater
In addition to everything from the Coffee Break tier, we will fly you and a friend out to lovely Tucson, Arizona for the premiere of EarthBound, USA. We will cover airfare and lodging for your trip, as well as a fancy, stretch limousine to take you to and from the theater and afterparty. Be VIPs for a night! Please add $1 to your pledge if you would like popcorn for the show. Limited to 4 backers!
$8,192 - MOTHERland
In addition to everything from the Coffee Break tier, join some of the Fangamer crew as we explore parts of Japan! We have a tour guide who happens to be a huge MOTHER fan, fluent in Japanese, and familiar with all the cool places a MOTHER fan might want to see! The exact dates and itinerary are to be determined, but we can guarantee it will be a fascinating experience! We will cover transportation and lodging for the trip. Limited to 4 backers!
$33,000 - Un-Stretch Goal: Free Bad Dudes MP3 - ACHIEVED!
Even if we don't hit our goal and end up with $0 from this project, we'll thank everyone for helping us get to $33k theoretical dollars by releasing a free MP3 of the song And the Band Played On (A Threed Cover) from the Psychokinetic album!
(This goal has been reached. Download the track here. Right-click the link and choose Save As.)
$67,000 - Un-Stretch Goal: Free Robbie Benson MP3 - ACHIEVED!
Likewise, if we hit $67k in theoretical dollars, we'll release a digital download of the track Robbie Benson (of Super Soul Bros. fame) made for the EarthBound, USA trailer!
$100,000 - GOAL ACHIEVED - WOO!
Our project will be funded, and people will be able to get their rewards once they're complete!
$125,000 - Documentary Soundtrack and EB Handbook Dust Jacket - ACHIEVED
Everyone will get a digital copy of the soundtrack that's being composed for use as the background music in the EarthBound, USA documentary. Also, any backer receiving the hardcover EB Handbook will also get a free dust jacket for the book, and the dust jacket will double as a poster!
$150,000 - Trading Cards + Hardcover Upgrade - ACHIEVED
Backers at the $64 tier will now receive a pack of 6 random trading cards based on the enemy information cards used in the EarthBound Handbook.
Backers at the $128 tier will receive three packs of these trading cards.
Backers at the $256 and higher will receive all of the trading cards (about 50 cards total).
Also, backers at the $64 tier will receive the hardcover version of the EarthBound Handbook instead of the softcover version.
$175,000 - MOTHER 3 Handbook Reprint - ACHIEVED
We will use some of the funds from this project to reprint the MOTHER 3 Handbook! If we reach this goal, the Handbook will be back in the Fangamer store in January! You can add one of these to your pledge! See the Add-Ons section below!
$200,000 - Convention - ACHIEVED
We will host a convention. Details here for now.
$225,000 - Extended Bad Dudes Album - ACHIEVED
The Bad Dudes, excited by the success of this project, have offered to produce a whole extra disc of music! So, the Psychokinetic album will now be a two-disc album instead of a single-disk album! Tiers that come with a digital version of this album will include a digital version of this second disc, and tiers that come with a physical version of the album will come with a physical version of this second disc!
$250,000 - Legends of Localization - EarthBound Edition - ACHIEVED!
Professional translator Clyde Mandelin, also known as Tomato, will adapt his examination of EarthBound from his Legends of Localization series into a book! The book will be edited, spruced up with new information, and may include new information from certain people who actually worked on EarthBound's localization! The book will eventually be available in the Fangamer Store, but you can currently add the book to your pledge as noted in this update.
$300,000 - Air Freshener + OverClocked ReMix Album
If we hit this goal, backers at the $128 level and above will receive a bonus air freshener! Why an air freshener? Mostly because an air freshener is one of the most coveted pieces of EarthBound paraphernalia in existence, so we figured we should make one for our backers!
Also, we'll be working with OverClocked ReMix to produce a free album of EarthBound music, similar to their other albums! Between this, the Robbie Benson documentary album, and the Bad Dudes album, you guys will have so much music to enjoy.
$350,000 - MOTHER 1 Handbook + Expanded PK Zine
If we hit this goal, we will expand the PK Zine to include double the content as well as including a brief history of EB fandom, similar to what you might find in the old EarthBound Anthology.
Further, by popular demand, Fangamer will commit to produce a MOTHER 1 Handbook at some point in the future, after the EarthBound Handbook is finished. You'll be able to collect them all!
To add these rewards to your pledge, simply increase your pledge amount by the amount specified! After the campaign is over, we'll send out a survey to ask how you'd like to spend your extra funds. Add-ons will delivered at the same time as your other physical rewards except for the MOTHER 3 Handbooks, which are projected to be delivered by mid-January 2015.
Fangamer is a gaming merchandise company based in Tucson, AZ. It was founded by a group of Starmen.Net staffers in 2008, and even now that it has expanded to 15 full-time employees, most of them have strong ties to Starmen.Net and/or EarthBound.
The Fangamer crew has been responsible for a variety of EarthBound-related events and projects over the past 7 years, including:
- The EarthBound Anthology (2007): this 268-page book (which was largely dedicated to fan art and was accompanied by CDs and DVDs filled with fan music and videos) was the centerpiece of a fan-based grassroots marketing campaign focused on boosting EarthBound's profile. This project was, in many ways, the spark that eventually became Fangamer and this Kickstarter.
- The MOTHER 3 Handbook (2009): a 260-page guide to EarthBound's sequel. This was the project that put Fangamer on the map.
The EarthBound Fanfests (2010 and 2011): month-long community play-through events in which everyone plays through the game simultaneously, led each night by a different member of the community. The 2010 event raised $10k for the Michael J Fox Foundation.
- The EarthBound Bash (2013): a 3-day party/fundraising marathon which brought in nearly $24k for Speak Your Silence and the "for James" cart auction.
The You Are Now EarthBound Kickstarter is the latest evolution of these projects/events. We have some exciting community-centered plans in mind which we hope to reveal later in the campaign!
Q: $100k?! *spit take*
A: That's not really a question, but we understand that it's an ambitious goal -- this is an ambitious project! Having designed, produced, and/or fulfilled merchandise for more than a half dozen major Kickstarter projects -- not to mention our own Retrowear Kickstarter, which unexpectedly brought in $200k and which we still managed to fulfill within a month of our estimated delivery date -- we've got a very good idea of what it takes to succeed. Here's a rough idea of how the funds will be split up:
- 20%: Artist payments (commissioned art for the Handbook and payments for artists appearing in the Zine)
- 18%: Documentary (mostly for travel and camera/computer equipment)
- 9%: Music (artist payments/royalties and licensing fees for both the documentary and album)
- 8%: Kickstarter/Amazon fees
30%: Rewards (printing, production, assembly)
- 15%: Postage
Once we pass the $100k mark, the last three categories (fees, rewards, postage) will remain the same, while the first three categories will shrink. The surplus funds will be used to invest in stretch goals, reimbursing the costs already sunk into the project (e.g. the Japan trip earlier this year), and additional inventory for sale after the Kickstarter rewards have shipped.
Q: Why bother with a Handbook when there's an official players guide?
A: While we love the official players guide, there are two big problems with it: physical copies sell for upwards of $100, and it is riddled with omissions and errors. To name just a few examples, fans are still shocked to learn that they wasted hours/days of their young lives chasing the Gutsy Bat and the "Parabolic".
Pragmatic answers aside: we've been dying to create an EarthBound Handbook since before we even started on the MOTHER 3 Handbook.
Q: You started work on everything so long ago -- why did the Kickstarter just now launch?
A: We started planning this project in the Spring of 2013, as MOTHER 2 was being re-released on the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console. We've waited all this time because we wanted to ensure that we had significant progress to show for every part of the project. The Handbook, in particular, has been difficult to move along because it requires an overwhelming amount of time and energy, which is hard to come by in a small/growing company!
Q: Wasn't "You Are Now EarthBound" the name of an old fan site?
A: You Are Now EarthBound was the name of an EarthBound fan site that Reid Young (reidman) started in 1998. Its success drew the attention of Clyde Mandelin (Tomato), who teamed up with him to cofound EarthBound.Net in 1999, which became Starmen.Net in 2000.
Q: Is there a legal risk in making this stuff?
A: We're confident that everything we're creating is legally sound.
- All of the music from the Album and the Documentary will be properly licensed.
- Both the Handbook and the Zine will feature original artwork inspired by the MOTHER series -- no official art or logos are being used or commissioned.
- The Handbook will serve a variety of functions, all of which we believe are covered under the umbrella of "fair use": it is simultaneously an educational guide, a critical work which examines details of EarthBound's story, a parody of the game and the 90's environment in which the game was released, and a compilation of facts, techniques, and information gleaned by fans over the past 20 years (e.g. battle techniques, item/character/weapon stats). It will stand alone as a creative work, but it will not function as a replacement for the game's narrative.
Q: Will any of this be available for purchase once the Kickstarter ends?
A: Yes! If the project gets funded, the EarthBound Handbook, the Psychokinetic Zine, the Psychokinetic Music Album, and the EarthBound, USA documentary will all be available in the Fangamer Store once the project is complete and backers have all received their rewards (projected for March 2016).
However, the custom collectors box that the set will be packaged in is exclusive to this campaign, as is the ephemera that will be stuffed into the backpack and the Nessbot USB stick.
The backpack itself may eventually find its way into the Fangamer Store, but though its fate is still undetermined.
Risks and challenges
The Zine and Album are both largely complete. Designing and producing the Handbook and Documentary are major tasks which, like any major creative project, are subject to delay.
We believe our expected delivery dates are reasonable, but if we're not ready to ship at that time it will be because we're using that time to improve the final product. Backers will be kept updated of our progress via Kickstarter updates.
Fangamer is a gaming merchandise company which proudly runs its own mailroom. Since 2008 we've shipped upwards of 150,000 orders all over the globe, all from our humble Tucson office. We have designed, produced, and/or fulfilled backer rewards for several major Kickstarters, including
* Minecraft: The Story of Mojang
* Double Fine Adventure
* Massive Chalice
* ...and most importantly, our own Retrowear Kickstarter in which we unexpectedly raised $200k (1000% of our original $20k goal!) and still managed to ship rewards to 2,500 backers within a month of our estimated delivery date.
- (25 days)